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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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120                                 LIFE   OF
rected, and great progress In the study of the physio-
logy of the earth has been made. Therefore Alex-
ander von ITumTboldt states in his dedication to the
Russian emperor that he had vividly appreciated the
munificence shown to him in the mountains of the
Ural chain and on the shores of the Caspian Sea.,
-where the importance of this expedition and its re-
sults were most plainly revealed to him. The em-
peror had granted that the localities which Hinnboldt
was to explore should be left entirely to his discre-
tion, as the chief aim had been the advance of science,
especially of geology and of magnetism, which is of
such importance in the present time, and that the
material and local interests of the country were only
to be secondary considerations.
The Russian minister of finance, the Earl of Cancrm,
who has done much for scientific plans and purposes,
had made the most appropriate arrangemcxxts for the
comfort and security of the travellers, and to facilitate
their expedition in general. A Russian officer, sub-
sequently the inspector of mines. Von Menschonin,
was appointed as Humboldt^s constant companion, to
give him every information on ways and localities,,
and to levy the necessary assistance from the Russian,
authorities ; thus prepared, and furnished with all the
comforts of Russian hospitality, they left Petersburg]!
;on the 20th May, and proceeded to Moscow. At
Nischnei-Nowgorod thdy embarked on the Wolga,
and arrived at Kasan on the 4th June. When they
had visited the Tartar ruins near Bulgari, the ancient
capital of the Moguls, they proceeded over Perm to
Jekatharinenburg, on the Asiatic side of the Ural
mountains, where Humboldt, during a stay of four
weeks, made a series of important observations on the
central and northern portion of the mountain ridge.
The mountains here afforded him a highly interesting
sphere for investigation, in their situation, their form,
and their metallic formations. This ridge, consisting
of several nearly parallel lines, whose highest point